Beneath oak and ash
The earth weeps for her children
Healing springs flow clear
Strangled at birth by our thanks
Ignorance flutters gaily
The photo for last week’s prompt was taken on our recent trip to Cornwall, where, in one of those impulsive moments, we turned off our road homewards and followed a sign that led to a ‘Celtic Chapel and Holy Well’. We found a magical place… and I will write about it properly soon.
I have found it interesting that, with entries coming in from every corner of the world, the folk magic of the wishing tree seems universally understood, as if its symbolism and sympathetic magic speaks the human lamnguage and bypasses words.
This wishing tree was at the Holy Well, which was less of a well and more of a spring. The tunnel of trees opened out onto this scene, which is magical enough in its own right, like most magic, these offerings may have a darker side.
The clooties… ribbons, strips of cloth and small offerings… are usually left when seeking healing at these ancient holy springs, or as offerings to the spirit of the place. Our friend, Morgana West of the Glastonbury Pilgrim Centre, wrote an article for the Silent Eye some time ago, in which she speaks about this and other ancient customs and how their modern counterparts may be doing more harm than their innocent appearance might suggest:
“This particular practice stems back to pilgrimages to holy wells, often places that would always have a tree growing by the side or nearby. The pieces of cloth, known as clooties, were dipped into the water before being tied to a branch with a prayer, often to cure an ailment, believing that as the rag rotted away, the ailment would disappear with it. Our forebears would use natural fabrics such as a strip of cotton petticoat and these would quickly rot away without harming the tree. Modern day ribbons are made from plastic and take an extraordinary amount of time to break down; tied to the branches of a tree, they strangle and prevent new growth whilst leeching chemical dyes into the wood.” Read Morgana’s full article at The Silent Eye.
Thank you so much to everyone who took part this week. I reblogged as many as I could and all the posts are listed below, so please click on the links to read them and leave a comment for the author! Thank you too, to everyone who reblogged the prompt, round up and the individual resposes!
A new prompt will be published later today. I will reblog as many contributions as space and time allows, as they come in… and all of them will be featured in the round-up on Thursday.
Pingbacks do not always come through… if you have written a post for this challenge and it does not appear in the round-up, please leave a link to your post in the comments and I will add it to the list.
Come and join in!
Many thanks to this weeks contributors:
(read the Epilogue to James’story of the Davidson children HERE)